Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Sterling Tomellini


A liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry method (LC/MS) has been adapted from the literature to provide a rapid, direct and highly sensitive routine assays for several Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, with detection limits in the ppb range for STX and its analog neosaxitoxin (NEO) and decarbamoyl saxitoxin (dcSTX). A high throughput sample clean-up aided in reducing the effects of the matrix. Method validation and stability studies have been performed to show that reliable results are produced by this LC/MS method. The LC/MS method was found to supplement the mouse bioassay with the ability to determine the levels and specific types of toxins in mussels. Toxin profiles were developed for two mussel sampling sites in NH during the summer of 2009. The most prevalent of the PSP toxins found were STX and NEO. In addition, one mussel sample which contained a higher level of these PSP toxins was also found to contain gonyautoxin-1, -2, -3 and -4 (GTX) toxins.